Through my paintings I seek to take a stand for the progressive politics that I believe in, which includes diversity, equality, tolerance, and racial integration, through the use of symbolism, representation of same-sex and interracial couples, and the use of craft techniques.
I use the butterfly as a symbol that represents a couple of different ideas that I hold dear. Just as the monarch butterfly migrates every year from Mexico into the United States, and just as my own life journey began in rural San Diego County before I was whisked to North Carolina and finally settled in The Bronx, I believe strongly in the rights of migrants and immigrants to seek a better life for themselves even if it means moving to a new home where they might not always be welcomed. The metamorphosis of the butterfly from caterpillar to cocoon to winged beauty also represents to me each individual’s right to change, grow, and self-identify however they see fit to express themselves to their fullest and most personal and creative potential.
I paint same-sex couples from different time periods and places in an effort to normalize homosexuality, and to show how it has always existed since the dawn of mankind, despite still being far from universally accepted all across the United States of America (aside from the more liberal metropolises). As someone who grew up working-class in the conservative southern Bible Belt state of North Carolina, I feel that it is important to take a strong position against the kind of divisive bigotry that led to North Carolina’s recently enacted “Bathroom Bill” (House Bill 2), which openly legislated discrimination of transsexuals and promoted bigotry towards all homosexuals. I paint interracial couples because I similarly feel that it is very important to promote the integration of the races, which is a project that has not only slowed in the post-1960’s Civil Rights era, but has even begun to reverse course and allowed for a return to racial gerrymandering of which North Carolina is also famous for. I feel that love and the mingling of the races is one of the best ways to fight segregation and to diminish economic disparity across racial lines, by spreading generational wealth held largely by whites due to centuries of systemic oppression of minorities. I also feel that it is important to paint couples of all races in general because representation matters, and it is important to me to help increase the visibility of positively portrayed minority subjects in the field of painting.
Lastly, I use stitching and sewing as an homage to types of art that have often been derided as being overly “feminine”, or relegated to a lesser position of being merely “craft” and not “fine art”, in service of the greater goal of promoting women’s contributions to the arts and women’s rights in general.